“Adoption Numbers”

An interesting article in the Washington Post by Jeff Katz about why, despite the high number of people who say they want to adopt, so few actually do.

According to this article, it is not that adoptive parents want only same-race placements, or children without special needs, or babies. Of the 600,000 women polled who stated they wanted to adopt:

  • 521,400 survey respondents said they would adopt a black child. In
    fact, there were 41,591 black children in foster care waiting to be
    adopted — or, 12.5 prospective parents for each waiting child.
  • 351,600 respondents said they would adopt children ages 6 to 12.
    There were 46,136 children ages 6 to 12 in foster care — or, 7.6
    prospective parents for each waiting child.
  • 185,400 said they would adopt a child age 13 or older. There were
    30,654 children age 13 or older in foster care — or, six prospective
    parents for each waiting child.
  • Additionally, 181,800 respondents said they would adopt children
    with severe disabilities, and 447,000 said they would adopt two or more
    siblings at once.

Why is this? According to Katz:

We have found that for every 1,000 people who call a public child
welfare agency seeking to adopt, only 36 do so. Far too many parents we
have interviewed describe the agencies they dealt with as bureaucratic
and unwelcoming. Far too many agencies view their primary response in
adoption as screening out "bad" parents rather than recruiting good
ones.

Some sobering thoughts. Of course, I have a few other questions, such as, what is the racial breakdown of the respondents? In terms of the figure "521,400 survey respondents said they would adopt a black child. In
fact, there were 41,591 black children in foster care waiting to be
adopted — or, 12.5 prospective parents for each waiting child," what does this mean for the black prospective or interested adoptive parents. And why is it phrased as if one of the reasons children aren’t adopted is because of their race? This (to me) makes it seem like they’re only talking about transracial adoption.

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